Thinking of You ~ Wishing You Well ~ and many more!

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Have you received a card or note that has been handwritten? If so, I hope you felt the love that went into it. Every year since we have been married my hubby gets a birthday card with a handwritten message in it from his grandmother. They almost all start the same way: “I remember the night you were born …” These cards have been a treasure for my hubby and for me also. Through the years I learned family tales and stories and traditions were passed on.

A few years ago I did what almost every one I know does on a daily basis. I walked out to my mailbox and picked up the mail. Every day I would get excited anticipating something addressed to me. Maybe I would get an announcement from my favorite nail salon, or a great coupon for a local restaurant, or a postcard from a family member, or a “Thinking of You” card from a friend or maybe … just maybe …a hand-written multi-page letter from a friend!!!

What I found was the same old thing.There was a couple of free magazines, a few odd advertisements addressed to “Postal Customer”, and bills! The only thing that even remotely looked like a personal letter was …

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Pass me the Fruitcake!

Happy National Fruitcake Day! Yes – today is another holiday of the yuletide season. Albeit ~ a rather strange one from my perspective. And although many people may agree that there are a few fruitcakes in congress, this one is not an official “National” holiday. For it to be one it would require an act of congress… (I’m not commenting on this!) 😉

So, you may be asking yourself, just what is this stuff? Does it really exist? And if it does, does anyone ever really eat it? How to discern this holiday treat from the other mounds of foods presented on that laden holiday table? Here is a list of some of the most well-known characteristics:

  1. It weighs a ton.
  2. You usually only see it around Christmas.
  3. Once it is made, it’s pretty indestructible.
  4. It seems to last forever.
  5. You look upon it and wonder…If I eat it, what will it do to me?
  6. Maybe the better question …is it even edible?
  7. Finally, those of us in the “older” generation know it all too well. But younger generations will often mistake it as a holiday door stop. 

If it fits this description, then it certainly must be a…..Fruitcake!!!

Wiki says: In Great Grandma’s day, fruitcakes were as popular during the Christmas season, as ribbon candy. Okay, you don’t know about ribbon candy either, huh!?! Well, as the Christmas holiday neared, Grandma went to work in the kitchen. She lovingly took out all the dried fruits and nuts that she had so painstakingly harvested and dried during the summer months. These precious and sought after fruits, and lord knows what Continue reading

What a Day!

“This is the day the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” ~ Psalm 118:24

Ever wonder what is happening around the world? In your community? Sometimes I do – just because I enjoy a reason to celebrate! It looks like I’m not the only one. 🙂 Check out what is happening around the world today:

1. United States:

Lafayette Day (Massachusetts)
National Quiche Lorraine Day
Blue Jeans Birthday
Eliza Doolittle Day
Maritime Day
Be A Millionaire Day
Flower Day
Weights and Measures Day
National Employee Health and Fitness Day
Turn Beauty Inside Out Day
Are You Somebody Day

2. Spain:
St. Ferdinand Day

3. Italy:
Festival of the Chirping Crickets: Florence, Only

4. Thailand: Continue reading

The hope of a Child

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

I remember one particular Christmas as a child that still resounds within my heart and whose memory is still able to keep me focused on the hope of things to come. My family lived in New York, in a very rural part of Long Island. Jobs were scarce at that time and my father worked for a gas company driving a truck and delivering bottled gas to people for cooking and heating purposes. Dad was fairly young, about thirty-two years of age, and the father of four. My dad was also a volunteer fireman.

At some point, after working a full day in the cold and snow delivering the gas to his customers, dad was called out to help respond to a large fire involving a local community business. My mother bundled all of the children, as usual, and we all followed down to the firehouse so my mother could help the other women prepare hot coffee and food for the men as they took breaks and rested throughout the night. We children were made a bed in the hall and slept under the tables.

Towards the early morning a fellow fireman and his wife took my mother aside to talk to her. What I found out later was that my father had been inside the burning building when the roof collapsed. Although he was going to be okay, he was at the hospital receiving oxygen and would be released later.

Several days after my dad came home my parents talked to us children and told us that Santa might not be able to visit us that year, but we would still have the decorations and visits with family. Over the next few days I remember watching my father become more and more depressed. He worked hard to provide for his family and due to the medical bills and loss of pay, he could hardly make ends meet. Now, with the Christmas holiday just a few days away, they barely had enough money to keep the gas and electricity on.

These circumstances certainly made an impact on my view of Christmas and the season generally speaking. But what made that particular Christmas so memorable to an eight-year-old girl was what happened in the late afternoon the day before Christmas.

Dad was somewhere in his garage and my mother was giving my youngest brother his bath before we would all eat dinner and head out to church. Suddenly … into our driveway pulls the shiniest, reddest, biggest … fire truck- I had ever seen! And riding on the back with all the ladders and assorted gear was Santa himself! When those men climbed off that truck with bags of wrapped gifts and boxes of food, no one was more surprised than my dad. And when Santa called my name, he sure sounded a lot like my uncle Vinnie. (!!!)

For the most part, I don’t remember what gifts those firemen brought for us. I don’t remember the food we had for dinner, or what the Christmas service was about, or even which of my cousins we spent the next day with. What I do remember is the restoration from hopelessness to hope in my father and my mother.

You see, what we received on that Christmas is what God offers each of us every Christmas. We received a new start, a new birth if you will. My parents found themselves surrounded by friends, family, and unknown members of the community and carried though one of their darkest moments. And since that time over four decades ago, the memory of what those firemen (and Santa!) did for four little kids and their parents has sustained me through dark days and given me hope when I thought it was gone.

Maybe that’s what each of us needs this holiday season – the hope of a child, born in a manger.

~ Rev. Pat